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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Treatment)

This post is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)

How chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is treated ?

• Cessation of smoking as it improves the mucociliary function with decrease in the hyperplasia of the goblet cells.

• Including Pulmonary rehabilitation like chest physiotherapy, flutter valve and high frequency chest wall oscillators since they augment the shear stress to improve the mucociliary clearance.

• Expectorants

• Mucolytics (dornase alpha, hypertonic saline) they rehydrate the airway and cause hydrolysis of the mucus DNA.

• Methylxanthines, short & long acting b-adrenergic receptor agonist as they increase ciliary beat frequency with increase in airway luminal diameter and increase mucosal hydration hence help in decreasing the mucosal viscosity

• Anticholinergics cause decrease in mucus production.

• Glucocorticoids and Phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitors, they reduce lung inflammation and help in restoring the pulmonary functioning.

• Anti-oxidants help in breaking down the mucin and decrease its production.

• Macrolides as they reduce inflammation and goblet cell secretions

• Oxygen therapy help since its difficult for individual to breath on their own. Devices like oxygen concentrators are available for those who need portable home oxygen machines.

• Lung reduction surgery where small wedges of damage lung parenchyma is removed, recommended in few of patients.

• Bullectomy where the large air sacs (bullae) are removed.

• Lung transplant in severe cases it may be required.


• Choose complex carbohydrates like whole grain, pasta, fresh fruits & vegetables over simple carbohydrates like sugar, candy cake and soft drinks

• Eat 20-30 g of fibre daily

• Good source of protein at least twice a day to maintain a good respiratory muscle.

• Limit sodium use since too much of sodium can cause swelling (edema) leading to increase in blood pressure.

• Drink plenty of water/fluids it keeps you hydrated and helps in thinning out the mucus.

• Eat smaller 4-6 meals as it helps your diaphragm to move easily and lets your lungs get filled by air.

• Consume mono-poly-unsaturated fat since they don’t contain cholesterol.

• Calcium supplements since COPD patients are generally on long term use of steroids which decreases calcium levels.


• Getting good sleep over comes the fatigue caused by chronic bronchitis and helps in repairing the damaged tissues. One should try sleeping with head raised by use of pillows since this facilities a smooth breathing process and helps in clearing the mucus.

• Drinking loads of fluid to prevent dehydration which can lead to dry throat and mouth, headache, dizziness and confusion. It also helps to loosen up the nasal mucosal secretions and reduces viscosity of the mucus produced.

• Using a humidifier, symptoms are seen to get exacerbation in cold temperate and low humid air hence heated humidified air helps in loosing up and draining out the mucus.

• Using honey and lemon vs cough suppressants/ expectorants in initial stages.

• Pursed lip breathing technique where more quantity of air is let in and out and has shown to slow down the pace of breathing hence controls shortness of breath.

• Balanced healthy diet, taking nutrition and dietary supplements in speedy recovery and prevents infections.

• Dry ginger, long pepper and black pepper grinded to powder form taken along with honey, 3 times/day. This mixture has a highly anti-inflammatory action.

• Tomato soup with freshly grounded black pepper on the top they help in reduction of excessive mucus production

• Ginger soup/ tea

• Giloy juice brings down the inflammation and soothes the lining of the throat.

• Take Mustard oil and put few cloves of garlic and cook/ sauté to golden brown. Then switch off the gas, let it cool then strain it and use a little to massage on the chest. This helps in relieving chest congestion to some extent.


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